Culture – International Herb (1979)

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“African-American R&B has affected different reggae artists in different ways. While Toots and the Maytals’ gritty ska/reggae is comparable to the raw, tough southern soul that Wilson Picket, Sam & Dave and Otis Redding were known for, Culture’s sweet, mellifluous style of reggae is closer to the northern soul and sweet soul that came out of Chicago, Philadelphia and Detroit in the ’60s and ’70s. On International Herb, ones hears a lot of northern soul influence, as well as Afro-Caribbean and African pop influences. Although not in a class with Two Sevens Clash or Baldhead Bridge, International Herb is a respectable, pleasing effort that Culture fans were glad to acquire. Virgin’s original LP version of International Herb generated some controversy thanks to its front cover, which showed Culture’s members smoking large spliffs while standing in front of a tall, bushy marijuana plant. Marijuana advocates loved the cover, marijuana opponents hated it and Libertarians defended Culture’s right to free speech — even if they were Libertarian teetotalers who wouldn’t dream of touching a spliff themselves. The title song is unapologetically pro-marijuana, while other noteworthy tracks (including ‘Ethiopians Waan Guh Home,’ ‘Rally Around Jahovah’s Throne’ and ‘Jah Rastafari’) put forth a very Rastafarian message. International Herb falls short of essential, but it’s an enjoyable illustration of the group’s talents.”
allmusic

YouTube: International Herb [FULL ALBUM HQ]

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